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Old January 5, 2006, 10:35 AM   #1
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Advice Needed.. Which Data Book is best?

After finding out that my Lee book contains data for charges that work best with their measuring disks, I've decided its time to invest in a better book. This is after their mid target load for my .44 Mag with 240grSWC and Unique powder was swelling the cases so bad that I had to slam on the extractor to get them out. I have another book "Metallic Cartridge Reloading" published in 1996, but it doesn't have a good variety of loads for the stuff I'm doing.

Anyway, which book does everyone else like? I reload or will be reloading..

1. .44 Rem Mag- Mostly target shooting, but also experimenting with deer hunting loads
2. 7mm Rem Mag- Hunting and seeing how accurate the old (1963) Rem 700 is
3. .223 for AR-15 carbine- Not too serious, usually shoot mil surplus
4. .308 for FAL- Not too serious either, mostly just for fun and experimentation
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Old January 5, 2006, 12:46 PM   #2
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Any data book is only a guide. The Lee manual is a complitation of data supplied by the powder manufacturers. If you had trouble with Lee's suggested starting load for Unique with a 240 grain cast, you have problems another manual won't solve. (I checked)
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Old January 5, 2006, 01:22 PM   #3
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Leftoverdj... Why are so many other people suggesting loads WAY under the 11 grain range. One of the suggestions comes from a guy who helped develop the .44 magnum (Elmer Keith) I've heard from many sources that around 7 - 8 grains of Unique under a 240gr SWC is a nice target load. In fact 8 grains of Unique and a 245 Lead SWC was what THE .44 MAG MAN, Elmer Keith, suggested as a "medium" .44 mag load. Some of the other data fellow members can be seen in this post...

I realize other sources confirm the Lee data, and it is safe, but trust me this is a hot load that your wrist will feel! To me, the Lee book doesn't start with a low enough charge. Their load (off the top of my head its like start of 10gr and a max of 11.6gr) is not for target shooting all day! A 240gr Hornady XTP over 23-24gr of H110 w/ a mag primer is considered a good hunting load and one that delivers "the true .44 magnum experience", but 11.0gr Unique, Reglr CCI LP primer, and those 240 LSWC bullets were giving me the same felt recoil. And yes I shot them both in the same range visit.
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Old January 5, 2006, 01:51 PM   #4
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often the book by the component manufactuer is better

Often the book by the component manufacturer is better.
The newer book is almost always better than older books.
The more specific is usually better than the less specific.

Ed Matunas did very good books - I still like the Lyman books myself but often need loads such as 260 grain bonded bullets from Nosler in the .376 Steyr where only the component manufacturer if anybody lists the specific load. Sometimes it pays to find the load in a new book then buy the components.

There are exceptions. FREX - although it has now been changed in #13 - Speer listed many loads for handguns using their bullets and 2400 powder with poorly chosen primers in earlier books.
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Old January 5, 2006, 02:07 PM   #5
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I use 11.5 gr of unique with a 225 gr jhp in my .44 magnum loads, with no problems of overpressure and very light recoil. Most books will reccomend a lighter charge of a fast burning powder with lead bullets, but I think that is just to keep the velocity under 1000 fps to prevent barrel leading.
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Old January 5, 2006, 02:28 PM   #6
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I like the Lyman books (there are several current ones) but the key is to get more than one and from different sources to compare. Quantrill
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Old January 5, 2006, 04:21 PM   #7
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78, the loading manuals can't cover it all. Typically, they assume that you are after top velocity and offer a starting load a reasonable amount under the top load. It's not just Lee.

The best book for your purposes would probably be Ken Water's "Pet Loads". That's more of a collection of articles on loading for specific cartridges than a straight loading manual although it has thousands of loads listed. It has much more information than any standard manual.

Other than that, you can ask here. The members here have hundreds of years of collective loading experience. You'll get all sorts of horror stories about load data off the net, but when you get similar answers from several posters and a day goes by without anyone screaming of danger, you're pretty safe. Just check the data against the manual you have and ask again if anything seems questionable.
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Old January 5, 2006, 04:24 PM   #8
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Ed Matunas did very good books
Ed Matunas always gave me the feeling that he felt that the ordinary person had no business reloading.
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Old January 6, 2006, 10:58 AM   #9
Tim R
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With few exceptions I have found the Speer data to be pretty dang close as they use a real gun for their pressure test.
God Bless our Troops especially our Snipers.
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Old January 6, 2006, 11:08 AM   #10
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Which reloading manual?

Which reloading manual?
That depends on which one you believe.
HORNADY and now SPEER are conservative. Lyman and Sierra are high end. I like Lee, also.
Lee seems to have copied all the powdr manufacturer's reloading books. The powder maanufacturers for the most part are conservative.
I have Sierra, Lyman, Hornady and Speer for a colection of manuals.
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Old January 7, 2006, 03:17 AM   #11
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if you are using mag primers, quit.




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Old January 7, 2006, 07:45 PM   #12
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I say the Lyman No. 48 Reloading Handbook would be a good one to pick up. Lyman data always contains data for cast bullets. The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook is an essential resource if you ever begin casting and reloading.

For jacketed bullets in rifles, the Sierra manual is a favorite. I'd get the one on CD because the printed manual is massive.

I rely mostly on handbooks made by bullet makers. I also use the data offered in pamphlets and online by powder manufacturers such as Hodgdon, Alliant, Winchester, Accurate and Winchester. I try to look at several sources before working on a new combination.
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Old January 7, 2006, 08:24 PM   #13
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Loading manuals

I like my Lyman manual also, but the most versatile I would have to say is the Loadbooks for each individual caliber. There available in Midway, Cabelas, Gander Mtn., etc. They have copies of each specific caliber from all the big manuals and manufacturors compiled into one. I bought one for each of the calibers I reload frequently for. It gives you a chance to compare different data from all the big names in one book. Its real handy.
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Old January 7, 2006, 10:36 PM   #14
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Maybe Ordinary People Should Not Reload

LefoverDJ, You say, "Ed Matunas always gave me the feeling that he felt that the ordinary person had no business reloading."

When you think about the fact that half the people are below average, maybe Matunas was right. That still leaves a lot of us slightly above average guys to buy equipment and components. I work with some folks I would not trust around my reloading equipment.
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Old January 8, 2006, 11:28 AM   #15
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After shooting some 'swap meet' reloaded ammo ONCE, I came to the same conclusion.
I'm not just a gun.
I'm YOUR gun.
(Hold me.)
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Old January 14, 2006, 08:06 PM   #16
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I usually try to keep an up to date book from 2 or 3 of the bullet manufactures. When I try a new load I research each one of them to see if there are any major differences with the powder charge. Other words I want to make sure there was not a misprint.
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Old January 16, 2006, 10:47 AM   #17
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I buy one full manual every year.

My first manual was the Lee #2, and I accompanied it with several free manuals from powder and bullet manufacturers.

Later on I got the Lyman #48.

About a year later I got my Hodgdon 2004 manual.

Just last month I got the dedicated load book for .44magnum that was mentioned earlier. I'm having lots of fun with experimenting on the .30-30, so I will probably get the dedicated book for .30-30. Those seem to be my two favorite plinking guns nowadays.

I agree that the Lee book is not as comprehensive as it first comes across. It is big, it is thick, and has a lot of good reference info in the beginning sections, but it is not the right book for someone interested in true cartridge minimum and maximum loads. If you wanna plink, it will give you working cartridges in a safe range, though.

I'd say my Lyman #48 is my favorite.
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Old January 20, 2006, 03:49 PM   #18
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LYMAN 48th

I prefer the 48th ED. Lyman manual. Very informative.
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Old January 20, 2006, 04:35 PM   #19
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lyman's 48th is at the top of my list. I still go to the powder mfg web site before loading a new powder or changing a load on a powder I have used before. I have on the shelf right now Sierra, Lyman ( both metallic and shotshell), Lee's and an older Hodgon's. Hodgon no longer publishes a hard bound book but instead went to an annual. The powder Mfg put out little paperbacks on their powders that are usually available for free whereever that powder is sold. I will be picking up Nosler soon.
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Old January 21, 2006, 07:28 PM   #20
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Ponder this when it comes to selecting a reloading manual.

1. One put out by a powder manufacturer is only going to address loads that use their powder.

2. One put out by bullet makers is only going to reflect loads that use their bullets.

I would look for a manual not tied to a powder company or a bullet company and there are some out there. You can also find a host of data available online if you have the patience to do the searching. One word of caution, be suspect of loading data if you don't have complete faith in the source. Reliable sources not tied to the above are more likely to give you a well rounded number of choices.

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Old January 21, 2006, 09:28 PM   #21
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Loading books

I have several loading books and use them all from time to time. You might say that loading books are like stocks, you need some diversification in order to be sure the information is good.

Lee is a good one to start with due to the step by step reloading instructions in the book.
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Old January 22, 2006, 02:23 PM   #22
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I have Accurate, Hornady, Hodgdon, Speer, Lyman, Seirra and a couple others that I can't think of off hand. They all have their good points. Some will give you the most accurate load they had during testing. Hodgdon's gives other powder manufacters loading data along with theirs. Hornaday's new manual gives data for the M1 Garand. So for me it's hard to pick just one.
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Old January 22, 2006, 02:54 PM   #23
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I agree with Leftoverdj, Ed Matunas is just plain patronizing and condescending. Other writers get it across for the less experienced without sounding superior. I wish Ed Harris were still writing about loading and I'd like to rejuvenate Ken Waters.

The reason Lee data looks peculiar is because their "never exceed" load is the powder company's maximum. That's ok. But their starting load is the next load at or below the maximum that they have a fixed charge disk measure for. No standardized 10% reduction like most, no set minimum pressure like Lyman seems to go by, just whatever the Lee disk measure will deliver that will not exceed the maximum. Sometimes it is a substantial reduction, sometimes it equals the maximum.

I don't load Unique heavy, I don't load 2400 light, I have seen bad ammo from both practices.

Y'all be careful, now, you hear?
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Old January 22, 2006, 05:08 PM   #24
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I buy Loadbooks for each caliber I load. The Loadbooks have all the available data from the various bullet ands powder manufacturers. They are normally under $10, to boot.

Why buy an expensive hardcover data book, particularly when 95% of it's data is for cartridges you'll never load?...
To my great mortification, my father once told me; "you care nothing but for dogs, shooting, and rat catching, you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family"

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